I was disappointed in this one.
Based on her book Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power (2004), this is the story of Mary Mapes, the producer of Sixty Minutes in America. She produced the segment, presented by Dan Rather, that questioned George W. Bush’s selection for enlistment and later performance in the Texas Air National Guard which allowed him to avoid being drafted for Vietnam. The film follows the uncovering and verification of documents and the search for evidence to back up the story. After the segment was aired, questions were raised about the authenticity of the documents, and three CBS producers, including Mapes, were fired. Dan Rather resigned soon after.
I must confess that I’m not particularly aware of the role of producers in news programs and the distinction between a producer and a presenter. I looked through the list of producers in the Wikipedia entry on Four Corners (probably the Australian program most comparable to that depicted in the film) and while some names were familiar, others weren’t.
I had been hoping that this film would be more like the excellent BBC Series The Hour (alas, we’ll never know what happened to Freddie…) or Good Night and Good Luck. Truth did not have the tautness of either of these programs and was too schmaltzy. Although you’re left with questions at the end of the film, you feel more suffocated than lacerated.
It’s a brilliant cast, with Cate Blanchett and an increasingly wrinkly Robert Redford, but the roles didn’t seem to stretch them at all. It was a surprise to see Noni Hazlehurst there- yes our Noni- and she played her small role really well.
So, a rather lukewarm 3/5 from me.